Friday, September 7, 2012

One Step Closer

George Monbiot, from his website

One of the principals of democracy is that all persons are equal before the law. That this is not so is pretty much self-evident, does not need me listing case after case as proof, and is one of the major failings of our system. But we're getting one step closer, at least in the UK.
Public intellectual and professional gadfly George Monbiot has set up a bounty fund to further the attempt to bring former UK PM Tony Blair to account in front of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. He also wrote a piece September 3rd about how the philosophical and societal support for different types of justice for different people is beginning to crack apart. An excellent article, and well worth reading more than this excerpt:
For years it seems impregnable, then suddenly the citadel collapses. An ideology, a fact, a regime appears fixed, unshakeable, almost geological. Then an inch of mortar falls, and the stonework begins to slide. Something of this kind happened over the weekend.
When Desmond Tutu wrote that Tony Blair should be treading the path to The Hague, he de-normalised what Blair has done. Tutu broke the protocol of power – the implicit accord between those who flit from one grand meeting to another – and named his crime. I expect that Blair will never recover from it.
The offence is known by two names in international law: the crime of aggression and a crime against peace. It is defined by the Nuremberg principles as the "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression". This means a war fought for a purpose other than self-defence: in other words outwith articles 33 and 51 of the UN Charter.
That the invasion of Iraq falls into this category looks indisputable. Blair's cabinet ministers knew it, and told him so. His attorney general warned that there were just three ways in which it could be legally justified: "self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UN security council authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case." Blair tried and failed to obtain the third.

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